However, these fixed choice descriptors allow users to triage by easily weeding out those who don’t meet their dealbreaker criteria for a partner (Fiore et al., 2008).
Researchers believe that users make up for the lack of information in online profiles by filling in the blanks with guesses based on small pieces of information.
Universities are spending plenty of time and money building new buildings and restructuring colleges to stimulate interdisciplinary work, but the event will begin to explore whether one of the key obstacles is as simple as shyness. Narayanan should know a thing or two about cross discipline work: In addition to his appointment as a professor of electrical engineering, he’s also a professor of computer science, linguistics and psychology.
Sharing a cup of coffee won’t always lead to a big grant, but it can be a start, Narayanan says.
Some theorize that online daters may be wearing rose colored glasses when looking at potential dates — filling in the information gaps with positive qualities in a potential partner (Gibbs et al., 2006).
In one study, knowing more information about a potential date generally led to liking them less, possibly because it called out inconsistencies and reduced opportunities to fill in the blanks with positive inferences.
“To be honest, if we get one or two collaborations that translate into grants, then the university will be happy,” Goodman says.
“[But] if people get to meet people they’ve never met before, then I think we’ll be successful.” The event admittedly has a “game show feel,” but it might begin to address some important questions, Goodman says. Shrikanth Narayanan, chair of the university’s research committee, says he believes developing social opportunities for faculty is an important step in encouraging them to work together.
A 2008 study in which participants rated actual online profiles confirmed this, but also explored the criteria that made certain photos attractive (Fiore et al., 2008).
Men were considered more attractive when they looked genuine, extraverted, and feminine, but not overly warm or kind.
While this has led to dates, relationships and marriages around the globe, it has also been a boon for enterprising researchers — providing huge datasets chronicling real world behavior.
Psychological scientists have been studying attraction, love, and romantic relationships for decades, but online matching and speed dating have given researchers unprecedented opportunity to explore who’s attracted to whom and why.
For all of their big ideas, sometimes faculty are a bit like wallflowers at a high school dance; they need a little push to make the first move.